Too [poem] by Brian Glaser

1.
Sand grains in a young girl’s sandals
spill onto the asphalt. A shoulderbag sags with books.
The voice peaks—
What are you doing, papa?

Capitulation of the water.

What are you doing, papa?
The woman is hatless, squinting in speckled shade.
Smoke wafts from a grill.

A man carries a boy down an aisle of cars,
passing them. The woman is silent. Look,
says the girl. Too is laughing at them all.

2.
That tangle of laundry on the bed.
Those houseboats seen through the window.
The small firetruck the girl calls backhoe.

Insane book in the drawer.
A muted television program about a forest fire.
The woman watches a pot froth too high.

3.
The woman speaks to another walking with a dog.
She uses one foreign language.

Blue buds of a Lily of the Nile will not tear away.
The girl is not disappointed.

Her book is decorated with bright pumpkins.
She turns the pages and says no.

4.
Where do you put the sticker of the robin?
The woman says there is a proper place.
The stewardess has a lonely smile.

The man carries the diaper to the bathroom.
Draws down the shade, too.
Clouds, crawling on an unspecified summer day.

5.
The girl stands up from the ring and cries.
I feel so bad.
The shadow of the helicopter darts to the canyon’s scar.

Maricela raises the iron, says: la niña.
Here. A certain period of time.
The woman begins to dream before she is asleep.

6.
The girl is dancing in the living room.
Respect this.
A man runs down Main.

Some boys are skimboarding, waiting in line. The woman builds a castle
with turrets of styrofoam
and styrofoam flecks.

Cormorants rest on the chest of the water.
It is getting dark. Though.

7.
Hope can be benign.
The woman and the girl ride the Ferris wheel alone.

Who knows where you are.
Another may care.
Who knows these utopian undertones.

8.
A crown is made by the man and the girl
of pink paper and purple paper, too,
for the head of the puppet frog.

They decorate the band
and when it is time to drink tea
he gathers up the smiling bears from inside the zoo.

9.
She is hiding with the flashlight in the closet.
She is watering scratched earth.
She is staring into space.
She is that space too.

10.
It is a sunny day.
The boy is out of preschool.
He dives for pennies in the pool.

The woman is somewhat disappointed.
The man irrevocably renounced true lullabies
too long ago.

11.
The circus near the ocean has closed. Se fue.
The girl waves politely to her self in the carousel mirror.
She’s funny that way.

12.
The young girl and the old woman
form an order
in the intensely lit doorframe.

Something I cannot explain
and another I know too well
wait for me to speak. Again, I wave goodbye.

13.
You sleep and lie awake beside a woman,
a man tells you of a city far away.

You cannot spend all those coins anymore.
The girl is walking along the quiet beach.

The man saunters towards the desolate shore.
This is your only prayer, too.

 

Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

[Refer: this poem refers to Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.“]

 Image by Nicola Centenaro

 Brian Glaser is an assistant professor of English at Chapman University in Orange, California. He has published poems in Ploughshares, North American Review, Literary Imagination and many other journals. His poetry was recognized with Berkeley’s Eisner Prize and he has been nominated for a Best of the Net award by Lascaux Review.